LTC John "Joe" F. Guilmartin was a potential VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 03/10/2016 at the age of 75.5
Columbus, OH
Date of Birth 09/18/1940
Served in the U.S. Air Force
Served in Vietnam with 38 ARRS DET 5 in 67-68, 40 ARRS in 75
This information was provided by Norman "Barry" Kamhoot, Jim Burns, Sammie Williams

More detail on this person: John F. "Joe" Guilmartin, PhD, passed away suddenly at Riverside Hospital, Columbus, OH, on March 10, 2016, surrounded by his Family. The son of John Francis Guilmartin, Sr., and Katherine Douglas Guilmartin, he was born on September 18th, 1940.

He grew up in San Antonio, Texas, where he attended Texas Military Institute, graduating in 1957.

The following year he was appointed to the US Air Force Academy by then Senator Lyndon Johnson, earning his undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering and graduating in the Class of 1962, "The Red Tag Bastards."

He graduated from US Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training in 1963 and from the Air Force Helicopter School in 1964. The bulk of his operational career, he served as a helicopter pilot with the Air Rescue Service, including two Southeast Asia tours based in Thailand. During the first, in 1965-66, he logged some 130 combat missions over Laos and North Vietnam as an HH-3E "Jolly Green" helicopter pilot charged with rescuing American aviators shot down in enemy territory. During his second tour, in 1975, he flew HH-53C "Super Jolly Greens" including participation in Operation Frequent Wind, the 29-30 April Saigon Evacuation, flying from the attack carrier USS Midway. His crew and wingmen took out some 500 evacuees in twelve sorties and fired the last American shots of the Vietnam War, suppressing enemy anti-aircraft fire on their final run-in. Between Southeast Asia tours, he attended Princeton University under Air Force sponsorship, earning his MA and PhD in History in 1968 and 1971 respectively, before serving on the History Faculty of the US Air Force Academy during 1970-74. The balance of his Air Force career was in Air Rescue Service Flying and Staff assignments, followed by a tour at Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, where he was Editor of the Air University Review, the professional journal of the US Air Force. He retired from active duty in 1983 as a Lt. Colonel and senior pilot. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, two Silver Stars and the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters. Following retirement, he served on the faculties of the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and Rice University, Houston, Texas, where he also served as Director of The Space Shuttle History Project working under a Rice University contract with the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. He joined the Ohio State University History Department in 1987 where he remained until his death. While at Ohio State, he supervised 26 doctoral students through to completion of the PhD. He published widely on military history, medieval and early modern naval history, airpower history and the history of the Vietnam War. During these years, he held the Charles Lindberg Chair at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., was a guest lecturer and Visiting Professor at West Point, and took part in and presented papers and lectures with the International Commission of Military Historians in locations all over the world for many years. Dr. Guilmartin recently received the prestigious Goodpaster Prize, awarded by the American Veteran's Institute and The Bradley Foundation, as "Outstanding Soldier-Scholar," amongst many other awards and honors. Additionally, the Joe Guilmartin Scholarship for World War II Study Abroad was graciously funded in his name for OSU students by admirers of his teachings. He is survived by his beloved wife, Hannelore; by daughters, Lore Guilmartin and Eugenia Guilmartin, Colonel US Army; and by step-daughter, Karla Vick and step-son Kurt Vick; and grandchildren, Haley and Ranon Varney. At his request, there will be no memorial service. Photos, memories and condolences can be shared on the SCHOEDINGER FUNERAL HOME website and those wishing to make charitable contributions in his honor can contact: The Texas Military Institute, 20955 W. Tejas Trail, San Antonio, TX 78257; The Jolly Green Scholarship Fund, Attn: Lee T. Massey, 916 Aloma Faye Lane, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547; The Joe Guilmartin Scholarship for World War II Study Abroad, OSU Department of History, Attn: Study Abroad Scholarship FUND # 13906, 106 Dulles Hall, 230 Annie & John Glenn Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, or,; Child Fund International, PO Box 26507, Richmond, VA 23261, or,, 1-800-776-6767

Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Mar. 20, 2016

John F. Guilmartin | 1940-2016: Vietnam War hero became Ohio State professor of military history

By Jim Woods, The Columbus Dispatch • Monday March 21, 2016 9:29 AM

He was a rescue helicopter pilot who flew more than 130 missions during the Vietnam War and went on to become a nationally known authority on military history, teaching at the Ohio State University.

John F. "Joe" Guilmartin, 75, died on March 10 at OhioHealth Riverside Hospital after a brief illness.

Guilmartin recently received the Goodpaster Prize, which is awarded by the American Veteran's Institute and Bradley Foundation to an outstanding soldier-scholar.

He held a PhD in history from Princeton University and had been on Ohio State's history faculty since 1987.

During his tenure at OSU, he also was the Charles Lindbergh Chair at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and was a frequent guest lecturer and visiting professor at West Point.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, he earned an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy and graduated in 1962.

His first tour in Vietnam came in 1965-66 as a "Jolly Green" helicopter pilot, charged with rescuing American aviators shot down behind enemy lines.

He was among the first wave of soldiers after America increased its commitment to fight. "The vast majority wanted to be there. The crème de la crème volunteered to serve in South Vietnam. Some of them died, but they knew what they were getting into," Guilmartin told The Dispatch in a 2005 interview.

During another tour, Guilmartin witnessed the war's bitter end as he helped evacuate 500 people during the fall of Saigon in 1975. His military honors included the Legion of Merit, two Silver Stars and the Air Medal with five oak clusters.

He is survived by his wife, two daughters, a step-daughter, step-son and two grandchildren. At his request, there will be no memorial service.

This information was last updated 05/18/2016

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